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Asean Affairs  26 June  2015

U.S. Companies Engage Myanmar on Reforms, Capacity and Infrastructure

(Yangon) - 15 Leading U.S. companies organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council visited Myanmar this week. The delegation was received by President U Thein Sein and other senior officials in Naypyitaw, where they also attended a joint session of Parliament as guests of Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann. The delegation also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, the Honorable Derek Mitchell, the Economic Committee of the National League for Democracy and members of civil society in Yangon. The mission was led by the Chair of the Council’s Myanmar Committee Scott Neal, Country Manager for Chevron and President of Unocal Myanmar, and Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
“Myanmar is embracing many of the changes it needs to make to create a modern economy and a strong, business-friendly regulatory environment,” said Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “During the three consecutive years that the Council has visited Myanmar, the infrastructure has continued to improve, digital infrastructure has vastly expanded, and the regulatory environment continues to be streamlined and improved. American corporations continue to be interested in the opportunities that the country offers.  On average a U.S. company opens a rep office or signs a distribution deal in Myanmar each week, which was not the case just a year ago.”
Discussions between the delegation and the government focused on how U.S. companies could continue to support ongoing economic reforms, opportunities to partner to improve Myanmar’s infrastructure across the board, including physical, digital, financial, health and legal infrastructure, and ongoing efforts to build Myanmar’s human capacity, including those supported by the Council through the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs.
The mission concluded with a dinner honoring Minister in the President’s Office U Soe Thane for his exceptional contribution to economic reform and the American business communities’ engagement with Myanmar.
“The role that U Soe Thane has played in Myanmar’s reemergence onto the global stage has been immense,” stated Feldman, “The importance of his wisdom, patience, and passion to the U.S. business community in general, and the US-ASEAN Business Council in particular, is incalculable.”

Companies participating on the delegation included AIG, Archer Daniels Midland, Baker & McKenzie, Baxter, Chevron, Citi, the Coca-Cola Company, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ford, GE, Intel, Jhpiego, PwC, Time Warner, and Visa.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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